Saturday, May 11, 2013

Another Inconvenient Truth: Sometimes American Politics Kill People

As the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere rocket past 400 parts per million this week, what's more evident than ever is the inability of our political systems to respond to this crisis that's killing Americans right now and growing worse by the day.

Politicians and the reporters who cover them do NOT like hearing that. They absolutely hate being told that the American political system isn't responding fast enough to a crisis and that people might die as a result. This is how we do things! How dare you ask us to change just for your issue? The folks in industry don't tell us that we're accomplices in mass death and they throw really killer parties.

But we knew that cigarettes killed tens of millions of people and tobacco companies covered it up ... and Washington took decades to respond. We knew lack of health insurance killed millions of people and bankrupted millions of other families ... and Washington took decades to respond.

The climate crisis cannot be solved by horse trading. It cannot be solved by trying to say yes to everyone - to cutting carbon pollution AND to whatever Big Oil and Big Coal are demanding. And it cannot be solved by We'll Have to Leave It There journalism that tells viewers, "Scientists say this, polluter front groups say that, who can say what's true?"

We need what Grist's David Roberts calls wartime mobilization - an all of the above approach to cutting carbon emissions. Can Washington answer that call to action?
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